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by Ginger-lyn Summer, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Now, like many of you, I leave food and water outside on the porch for any neighborhood strays and ferals and whatever other critters might happen along. Each night, I go outside and fill the bowls, and should one critter be gentle enough to approach me, s/he is rescued.

We have new neighbors. At first we thought we had hit the motherlode. They kept cooking and bringing us heaping containers of good, hot food. "Wow!" DH said. "I think I'm going to like living next to these guys!"

But, alas, all good things come to an end. One day, I get an e-mail from the landlord, politely asking that I move our bird feeder to the back (hey, you didn't think I'd feed the cats and not the birds, now did you?). It seems some anonymous someone was complaining about the bird crap on their car.

Well, I could see their point. I was getting a bit tired of referring to our car as the Bird CrapMobile, too. So I moved the bird feeder to the back.

The landlord said thank you, and by the way, I have been asked to request one more thing of you. Could I move the cat dish to the back? It seems someone was getting a bit frightened of the raccoons on the porch, who were tremendously enjoying the cat food.

I turned six shades of purple. Mess with my bird feeder, that's one thing. But you don't mess with me feeding the cats and critters!

I wrote back to the landlord, politely explaining why I could not do that (it's dark out there, and I cannot rescue any kitties if I can't see them, not to mention a host of other reasons). I did not hear back from him, but I did hear the one neighbor cranking up his angry music a few days later.

Now, I keep a margarine tub full of food on the porch so that I can quickly feed the outdoor critters. Suddenly, it started disappearing.

I turned six more shades of purple. Those #$%^&^ neighbors! They didn't like me doing this; it had to be them stealing it!

I cursed and spit was about reading to say something less than polite the next time I saw them. Wouldn't you?

And then one night, just before DH got home from work, I heard a very strange noise on the porch. What in the world? I looked out the window . . .

. . . just in time to see a raccoon grab the margarine tub in its mouth, run down the steps and across the street, carrying the tub of food the entire way in its mouth.

Somewhere in the neighborhood is a nice little stash of several quite empty margarine containers, along with some very fat raccoons.

And my neighbors are off the hook -- for now.


Editor's note:

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